CropLife Ghana has recommended for rigorous post-registration surveillance of pesticides to ensure conformity with standards registration.
Mr Frederick Boampong, the Programme Manager for CropLife Ghana, said pesticide must not have similar trade names to confuse the vegetable producers.
He said stringent enforcement of the pesticide Act to protect the agrochemical industry in Ghana, thereby preventing loss of revenue to the state and other economic hardships.
Mr Boampong was speaking at a round table for “Registration of Pesticides for the Vegetable Sector” organized by CropLife Africa Middle East within the SNV-HortiFresh Project in Ghana in Accra.
The SNV Netherlands Development Organization awarded a grant to CropLife Africa Middle East under the HortiFresh Project to implement a Sprayer Services Provider (SSP) project in Ghana, with the aim of “Improving access to good quality pesticides and judicious application of these products” in the vegetable sector.
The objective of the round table discussion is to analyze and discuss the actual status of pesticide accessibility to smallholder vegetable farmers, to understand better the reasons for weaknesses/shortcomings of the system and to discuss how to create an enabling registration framework to increase the number of registered pesticides for use in the vegetable sector.
The event is also to better understand the unsatisfactory situation and the underlying reasons and list of possible identified actions and needed changes towards a more enabling regulatory environment.
Mr Boampong called for the increase pesticide inspectors in the vegetable farming communities to enable access of only reliable agro-products for use.
On the challenges that confront the industry, he said many more pesticides and fertilizers on the market have not been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD).
“Some of the pesticides have different labels but same trade name, therefore confusing to the vegetable farmers,” he added.
Mr Boampong said majority of the pesticides available to vegetable farmers in the farming communities have not been tested and approved for use in Ghana.
He said short shelf-life of two years of most pesticides encouraged sales of expired pesticides to the farmers.
The Programme Manager said a total of 595 agrochemicals for vegetable production were registered in 2018.
He said for insecticides, out of a total of 136 products, 127 were registered for use on vegetables; for herbicides, out of a total of 174 registered, 59 were registered for use on vegetables and for fungicides, a total of 73 registered, 56 were registered for use on vegetables.
On agrochemical counterfeiting, he said trade in illicit pesticides was a major public health and economic concern with 15 to 20 per cent of the market filled with such illicit pesticides.
He said traders in illicit pesticides constitute the biggest competitive market share and sub-standard pesticide market attractive to organized criminal groups.
He said the regulatory bodies did not have the extensive capacity or resources to effectively regulate and monitor pesticide imports and distribution.
Mr Bama O. Yao, the Regional Director West and Central Africa, CropLife Africa Middle East said the expected outputs and outcome for the long term of two to five years was to increase the list of registered quality pesticides to be available for vegetable production.
He said by the end of the project there should be improved supply of registered pesticides for the vegetable sector and vegetable producers had to have easy access to and choice for registered pesticides.
“Stewardship activities are encouraged among suppliers of pesticides and there will be a reduced presence if not eliminated of counterfeit and other illegal pesticides in the vegetable sector,” he said.
He said it was envisaged that there would be an improved production of vegetables and the quality of the produces.
Mr Bama said there would be improved access to export markets, where such export was envisaged and improved incomes and livelihoods of vegetable producers.
Dr Sam Adu-Kumi, Director of Chemicals and Registrar of Pesticides at EPA, said the Authority was working closely with the Registrar General’s Department to enable them to know the laws of EPA, regarding Chemical registering.
He said the challenge now was the shortage of field inspectors and expressed the hope that the Authority was in the process of recruiting more staff to augment existing staff to make inspection effective.
He said until the EPA approves chemicals of companies, sale on the market are illegal.